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Winnie and her mom check into a hotel where all is not as it seems


Winnie and her mom had finished checking in their car at the Escalofriante Hotel valet twenty minutes ago, and now Winnie was in the lobby. Hotel check-ins were so slow. Where was her mom? She looked around the hotel lobby. Old people were sitting in swirly chairs. The carpet was the hard kind that parents don’t care about you stepping on with shoes. All the old people were wearing small, fragile glasses. “Strange,” she whispered to herself.


Winnie looked up to see a blonde front desk lady standing in front of her. She had on bright red lipstick. Her voice was sickeningly sweet. Winne made a face at her. Like she smelt something bad.

“Are you lost?” the lady asked.

“No, I’m looking for my mom.” Winnie read the lady’s name tag. It read Jessica.

“I’m Jessica!” said Jessica, handing her the keys to her room. “Do you want a Merry-Berry lollipop?”

“No, thank you.” Winnie took the keys and put them in her pocket and backed away from the lady. Winnie was still on the hunt for her mom. She stopped in front of a row of TVs. Boring. Nothing good was playing, and in fact, the screen was black. Then she noticed that all of the old people were watching the black TVs. A shiver ran down her back.

In the elevator, Winnie waited as the numbers went from the first floor to the second floor to the fifth floor and the eighth floor. Suddenly it stopped, not helping Winnie’s nerves. The rusty door creaked open, and an old man got in. He was wearing the same glasses as all the other elders. As the rusty doors closed her in, Winnie held her breath. The old man peered down at her.

“My, where are your glasses?” He squinted at her.


“I don’t wear glasses.” Winnie turned away from him and stared at the elevator wall. On it, there was a window that let you see all the cords and cables holding the elevator up. Ding! The elevator stopped, and Winnie slipped out, grateful to be away from the man. She hurried to find door 1013. She reached for the three keys, safe in her pocket, and stared at them, longing to be a key safe in someone’s pocket. She tried each of the keys, the first two failing. The last key was a brass one with swirls on top, and she tried it. The lock clicked and the door swung open. Winnie gasped. Instead of a room, there was a cavern that looked similar to the elevator shaft. Winnie didn’t run or go hide in a corner. Instead, she just calmly closed the door and headed for the elevator.

At the front desk, Jessica was on the phone, blabbing away to someone named Chrissy. Winnie cleared her throat with an ahem and waited. Jessica turned to look at her. “What?” she asked.

“I was wondering if I could have a pair of glasses.” Winnie stood on her toes to see eye to eye with her.

“No. Those are for elders.” She turned back to the phone.

Quick as she could, Winnie ducked behind the front desk. At last she found a pair of glasses and ran, fumbling to put them on. Now the TV had a cooking show on it, and the elevator wasn’t as old as it looked. As she looked around the room, she noticed that the “elders” were young teens, and the man from the elevator was now a little boy. She pressed the “Floor 10” button and rode up to her room.

Opening the door to her room, what had looked like an elevator shaft had now turned into a beautiful suite! She flung herself into it, her eye catching a brown trapdoor on the floor of the bedroom. She opened it and found her mom. She looked tired.

“Winnie!” she called.

“Don’t worry, Mom! I’ll get you out of there!” Winnie reached for the bed covers and thrust them down to her mom. She grabbed them, and Winnie pulled her up.

“Let’s go, Mom. I don’t think that this hotel will work for us.”

Together, they walked out of the door, down the elevator, and through the front doors, not looking back once.